Dear West End Producer: ‘Should I focus on projects outside acting, such as swigging Dom by the NT while singing sonnets?’
— Ste Bergin (@Ste_Bergin) May 29, 2018
You should definitely focus on other creative projects, as these will inevitably help you survive as an actor. More than ever, acting is becoming a part-time job – and the time actors are out of work is frequently longer than the time they are in it (except those who have famous daddies, went to Oxbridge and have floppy hair, dear).
Having other creative interests gives you something else to focus on apart from your acting, which is hugely important. Even though having the drive, ambition and energy to further your career is essential, you must also have another outlet.
There are many different things to try, including: workshops, courses, writing, directing, painting, creating your own work, playing piano, playing guitar or simply playing with yourself. And of course, all of these are beneficial in the rehearsal room.
These skills are also very useful to talk about in an audition. It is far better to say: “I’ve been writing a play about the difficulties young people face earning a living in London” than “I’ve been watching Love Island and I’m going to base my character on Alex – he’s adorable”.
However, I must applaud your instinctive method of creative fulfilment. Your idea of swigging a bottle of champagne outside the National Theatre while singing sonnets may even get you noticed by Rufus Norris. You could soon find yourself reciting soliloquies next to NT stalwarts such as Simon Russell Beale, Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff.
Inspired by your adventurous idea, I have some suggestions for you and all your acting friends – which, as well as giving a creative kick, may also get you noticed by the right people:
• Shout impressive Shakespearean insults outside Shakespeare’s Globe while wearing a ruff, codpiece and corset. Michelle Terry will snap you up to join her company.
• Hold a pair of beautiful taps while dancing on the steps of Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The director of 42nd Street will be blown away by your skills.
• Run an animal studies workshop in the foyer of the Lyceum (especially lions).
• Fall over, laugh, hit yourself with random props and shout “I’ve gone wrong” outside the Duchess Theatre.
• Show off your rapping skills while wearing a mask of Neil or Christine Hamilton outside the Victoria Palace Theatre.
• Stand in front of the Dominion, dress as Batman, constantly stick your tongue out and keep doing ‘cool’ signs with your hands.
• Dress yourself in black attire then wail, shriek and pounce on tourists walking past the Fortune Theatre.
• Wear stilettos, fishnet stockings and sing huskily in the style of Cuba ‘Vocalzone’ Gooding Jr in front of the Phoenix Theatre.
• And finally, attempt the challenging ‘forward-back-I’m-getting-dizzy-on-the-revolve-march’ outside the Queen’s.
As Mr Nike said: “Just do it.” Good luck, dear.
Send questions to your dear agony aunt via Twitter @westendproducer